Sir Walter Ralegh's The Discovery of Guiana is a masterpiece of early travel literature that brings together important themes of Renaissance exploration, the European encounter with the New World, and the culture and politics of early modern Europe. Part travel journal, part geography primer, part political tract, Ralegh's account offers insight into a time of worldwide transformation. Benjamin Schmidt's insightful introduction places Ralegh's 1595 American adventure against a backdrop of sixteenth-century colonial rivalry and Elizabethan court intrigue. The volume includes additional documents from the Age of Exploration, including contemporary engravings that illustrate prevailing images of the New World and portraits of Ralegh that emphasize the importance of Renaissance self-fashioning. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography offer additional pedagogical support.
BENJAMIN SCHMIDT (Ph.D., Harvard University) is professor of history at the University of Washington. He has published widely on early modern cultural history, including Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World, 1570-1670 (2001), which received the Gordan Prize for best book in Renaissance studies and the Hendricks Prize for best book in colonial Dutch studies. He is co-editor of Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe: Practices, Objects, and Texts, 1400-1800 (2007) and is completing a book on European exoticism and globalism around 1700. A former member of the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), he has also received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, NEH, and Getty Research Institute.
Foreword Preface A Note about the Text List of IllustrationsPart One Introduction: Ralegh’s Courteous Conquest
Prologue: A Plashy Place Ralegh, or The Renaissance Man in Full Discovery, or How to Get "New" Worlds in the Renaissance Guiana, or Europe's El Dorado Ralegh's Discoverie of Guiana, or Text in Context Epilogue: Ralegh's Legacy Part Two Sir Walter Ralegh, The Discovery of GuianaPart Three Related Documents
1. Picturing Ralegh: Courtly Self-Fashioning, 1588-1735
2. Sir Walter Ralegh, Farewell to the Court, ca. 1588 and The Lie, ca.1592
3. Picturing Guiana: Marvels and Monsters, 1599
4. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, ca. 1356
5. Bartolomé de Las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, 1552
6. Sir Walter Ralegh, Of the Voyage for Guiana, ca. 1596
7. Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, 1588
8. Hernán Cortés, Letters from Mexico, 1522 Appendixes A Chronology of Sir Walter Ralegh with Key Events from the History of Exploration (1492-1630)
Questions for Consideration Selected Bibliography Index